ROGERS COUNTY -- Video has been released showing Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton removing a man from a medical marijuana meeting Monday in Rogers County.
Sheriff Walton said he has no regrets about what happened and that he knew he was being recorded.
The man shown in the video is Chip Paul, Chairman of Oklahomans for Health and a supporter of SQ 788.
"I still feel his hands on my throat, to be honest with you," Paul said. "It's not leaving marks clearly but I still feel his hands on my throat. I certainly still feel the bump on my head where they ran me through the door."
Sheriff Walton said the man had to be removed because he was being disruptive.
"I told him to be quiet and you'll have your time to talk," Sheriff Walton said. "He turned around and continued to talk and carry on the same way he did before... disruptive."
In fact, Sheriff Walton said he believes there was an organized attempt to be disruptive at the meeting.
Paul said he was not being disruptive. He said he raised his hand to make a comment.
He believes the encounter did not have to do with him specifically. He said tensions were high throughout the room.
"They had people asking questions and really questioning this 'no' narrative that frankly is not true and I think people were calling that out," Paul said.
One thing the men agree on is that Sheriff Walton wrapped his hands around Paul's neck and forced him out of the meeting. He said because of the way the man was sitting, he had no other place to grab him.
"They were there only strong enough to gain control of him. It was effective. It worked," Sheriff Walton said.
Paul said his head was rammed into the door and called it physical assault.
"I had a lot of other options on ways to remove him from there," Sheriff Walton said. "All would have been a lot more forceful than what was utilized there."
The sheriff does not hide that he is against legalizing marijuana, but he said that did not play into this encounter.
"Certainly if one of [the people against marijuana] had been in the same disruptive mode, the same situation would have applied," Sheriff Walton said.
You can watch the video below:
District Attorney Matt Ballard was at the meeting as a speaker. He released the following statement:
“I was participating in a public forum with the goal of helping educate voters on the facts about SQ 788. People absolutely have the right to speak their minds; preferably while showing respect to others.
The majority of people at the forum were engaged and respectful. A handful decided to be disrespectful to the entire group which is unfortunate but does not detract from the value the forum provided to the community.”
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